Washington, DC--Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-16) urged people to take part in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  It gives the public an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.  On Saturday, April 27th, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., residents can return old prescription drugs as part of a free and anonymous program.  To find a location nearest to you – go to  or call 1-800-882-9539.

“Most everyone in the country has something in the back of their medicine cabinet, taking up space, which they can disposeof, and eliminate any chance of the medication falling into the wrong hands – especially those of children.  This program is a simple and easy way to take care of these medicines and prevent a possible disaster from its mistaken consumption or abuse,” said Rep. Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health. 

In the five previous Take-Back events, the DEA in conjunction with state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners, removed more than 2 million pounds of prescription medications from circulation at over 5,000 sites.  Only solid medicines may be turned in.  No liquids, injectables or needles will be accepted.

Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high--more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. 

“Everything we do is geared toward protecting American families and communities,” said DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart.  “We know that young people consider controlled-substance prescription drugs, like Vicodin, to be a safer way to get high, but they couldn’t be more wrong.  By removing unwanted prescription drugs from their homes, the public helps prevent experimentation, addiction, overdose and even death.”